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What to do when your period is missing: Teenagers

Missing periods: How many months until I should be worried?

It’s common for teenage periods to go missing. Many people experience this.

When it’s missing for longer than 3 months, it’s our body’s way of tapping us on the shoulder, letting us know that something is standing in the way of a period happening.

By reading this article, you’re listening to that tap on the shoulder!
 

Why do periods go missing?

Periods happen because ovulation happens (ovulation occurs about 2 weeks before a period).
Ovulation is when one of your ovaries releases an egg.

When periods go missing, it’s because ovulation has stopped happening for one reason or another.
The key is to find out the reason (the root cause) that ovulation has stopped.
 
Ovulation may go missing for reasons such as:
– The teenage body is still getting used to making ovulation happen regularly
– Stress
– Other health issues (that may seem unrelated)
– Restrictive eating
– A rigorous and/or frequent exercise schedule
 

Typical menstrual cycle

  • Comes about every 25-35 days
  • Bleeding lasts 4-7 days
  • Period comes with minimal PMS symptoms
  • Does not include extreme pain

Atypical menstrual cycle

  • Comes less frequently than every 35 days
  • Bleed lasts less than 4 days or more than 7 days
  • Comes with extreme PMS symptoms
  • Period comes with extreme pain that hinders daily activities

How to get a missing period back

When encouraging periods to come back, it’s important to address the root cause of why they’re missing in the first place.

 
Some ‘root causes’ can include:
– Frequent intense exercise
– Restrictive eating
– Other health issues you may be facing (that may seem unrelated to periods)
– Hormone imbalances (can be caused by a few different things)
– The body simply needing more time to ‘practice’ having a menstrual cycle
 
To find the root cause, you’ll need the help of a period specialist.
 

How do I find a period specialist?

“How do I find a period specialist?”
is a question we get all the time, so we made a list:
 
SEEKING HELP FROM A PRACTITIONER:
 
Keep in mind that most doctors are NOT period specialists, and therefore may not be the most experienced in finding the root cause of missing periods – and that’s ok – they can refer you to someone who is. 
 
1. You could also start by visiting any doctors you already know, or your local GP. Simply ask them if they can refer you to a period or hormone specialist.
 
2. Go straight to a period specialist – find one on our practitioner directory
 

Will the pill bring my period back?

The contraceptive pill is sometimes prescribed for missing periods when teenagers see a doctor.

However, the pill won’t bring on your period – it will only cause a bleed due to the hormones that are in some of the pills and not in others.
This bleed feels like a normal period and comes from the same place, but it’s not a true period. The reason it’s not is because the pill prevents ovulation – and remember, the entire reason your period is missing in the first place is because ovulation is missing.

The pill will only further prevent ovulation.

If it’s offered to you, you can ask for all the information about it (pros, cons, risks, side effects), and you can take your time to make a decision about whether it sounds right for you or not.
 

Resources for a regular period:

The Bright Girl Guide - Perfect for teens to embrace their cycle
Free 'Recipes for period symptoms' eBook
PERIOD READY KIT - parent-teen ecourse

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